Go Greek

Fraternities

For more information on Boulder's fraternities, visit the Interfraternity Council online at coloradoifc.org. Some key dates:

Sept. 1 Convocation

Sept. 9 Go Greek Basketball Tournament

Sept. 15 Fraternity house bus tours

Sept. 18-19 Open houses

Sept. 20-23 Preference nights

Sept. 25 Bid day

Sororities

For more information on CU's sororities, visit the Panhellenic Council online at http://colorado.edu/greeks/sororities/index.html. Some key dates:

Sept. 2 Recruitment orientation

Sept. 3-5 Recruitment (datebooks)

Sept. 6 Preference night

Sept. 7 Bid day

More info

Aug. 31 is the Greek Involvement Fair at the Fountain Area at the UMC, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Registration for sorority recruits ends this day and the Multicultural Greek Council and Interfraternity Council will also be present at the event.

'Animal House" is a classic late-'70s movie that basically depicts rush week and initiation processes within fraternities as a big drunken, horse-killing, practical-joke playing mess.

Then there's "Legally Blonde," in which every member of the depicted sorority could easily be a model and would most likely drown if someone glued a mirror to the bottom of a pool.

These images are not representative of the Greek experience one will find at the University of Colorado. In fact, one likely will find more of a worthwhile, academic and social betterment experience within CU's Greek system.

CU has a wide variety of opportunities for incoming students to be a part of the "brotherhood and sisterhood" that is Greek life. So someone who's interested in getting involved need not worry about not having enough options.

Fraternities

CU's Interfraternity Council, while no longer officially affiliated with the campus, still has a high interest from incoming freshmen every year.

According to Marc Stine, the Interfraternity Council's Greek advocate, prospective fraternity members have the choice of either signing up for rush or already affiliating themselves with a particular house.

By affiliating, students make friends with the members of one of the chapters before rush week even begins; it can give potential members a better idea of where they'd like to pledge that fall.

But Stine said his biggest advice to prospective members is to "do your homework," meaning they should research and visit the houses they're interested in early -- not necessarily waiting until rush week.

"Rush week is a great opportunity to compare and contrast chapters," said Alex Morin, chapter president of Kappa Sigma. "It's very important that incoming freshmen choose a house they're comfortable with."

After rush week, there are a number of events that prospective pledges can go to, including an event called Convocation. This event is basically a general information session on the fraternity chapters and how to go through rush week. It lets students and parents ask questions about the Greek system.

"Going Greek for me was a spur-of-the-moment thing," said senior Branden Messenger, a Sigma Alpha Epsilon member. "I went to the Convocation on Farrand Field when I was a freshman and I just got hooked with it."

CU has 18 fraternity chapters in all.

Sororities

Panhellenic is a word that "describes anything of or relating to all Greek people or a movement to unify them."

CU's Panhellenic Council connects the nine sororities affiliated with CU's campus.

According to Lindsay Braun, the council's director of public relations, sorority recruitment is a five-day-long process with different "datebooks," where each of the prospective women gets to visit each of the nine houses. From there, the women choose seven out of that nine, then five, then three and, finally, they are offered a bid to one of the chapters.

"Recruitment is a mutual selection process, so after each day, the women rank the chapters and the chapters also rank which women they would like to become members, and a computer system matches up the two lists," Braun said.

Zero tolerance

As far as the concerns over hazing, at CU there's a zero-tolerance policy. For both fraternities and sororities, there can be severe punishments for any individual or chapter involved in hazing, and both educate their new members in the subject to prevent it as well.

"Once the women receive their bids, we have a new member period which is a window of time (40 days) where the chapters are not allowed to have any social events," Braun said. "This is another way that we make sure the new members have time to adjust and to discourage any hazing whatsoever."

Also in the sororities are Rho Gammas, volunteers from each of the chapters that disaffiliate from their chapter for recruitment to make sure rules are followed and the new members are comfortable.

Fraternities have something called the "Buzz Crew." Stine said, "The officers of the council go around to houses to make sure the rules are being followed." The week before and during rush, fraternities have a number of special rules in effect to prevent hazing, alcohol abuse, sexual harassment and other infractions.

Misconceptions

Of course, there are going to be common misconceptions and stereotypes about Greek life along with any other group that's been portrayed in popular culture.

"One misconception is they're (fraternity members) all upper class white kids. They're not. You will find about the same amount of diversity as you'd find on a dorm floor," Stine said.

Braun adds: "I would say that the most common misconception about sorority life is that it is shallow, and it isn't really about forming meaningful friendships. Through my own experiences, I have found the opposite to be true and I think that by encouraging women to go through recruitment to see what we are all about for themselves would be a good way to stifle any of those misconceptions."

Morin, a CU senior, has been involved in Greek Life for the past three years, since he arrived in Boulder.

"You get out what you put in," he said. "You can't grasp the unity until you're a part of it. There's always someone there for you.

"I can't imagine going through college without it."